ST. CLOUD, Fla. — A veteran Osceola County sheriff’s deputy was arrested on a domestic violence charge in St. Cloud early Saturday, deputies said.
Osceola County sheriff’s deputies responded to a domestic disturbance in the St. Cloud area involving Michael Keating, 45, around 3:15 a.m.
The Sheriff’s Office, which is conducting the investigation, said Keating is suspended.
Osceola County Sheriff Russell Gibson said Keating got into an argument with his live-in girlfriend when the two got back from the bar.
Workers who were fixing a nearby cell tower called 911 after Keating’s girlfriend screamed for help.
“My other guy that’s on top of the tower right now said that earlier she came over to him and her face was all busted up,” said the 911 callers.
According to Keating's arrest report, his girlfriend told deputies he became angry and started punching her.
Keating told deputies his girlfriend was angry because he would not divorce his current wife, saying she was the one who started hitting him and that he pushed her in self-defense.
The investigation resulted in Keating’s arrest on a domestic battery charge, deputies said.
Gibson, who helped train Keating, said he was puzzled by the whole incident.
"It makes you sit back and wonder, what are people thinking, especially being a seasoned law enforcement officer that you would find yourself in this situation," he said.
The Sheriff’s Office said Keating was booked into the Osceola County Jail without bail, but has not listed his jail booking information on the county website.
The Sheriff’s Office said internal affairs investigators will conduct an administrative investigation to determine if Keating, who has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 14 years, violated any policies.
According to Sheriff’s Office records, Keating was under administrative investigation twice in 2016 regarding “violation of rules” and “conformance to laws.”
Gibson said one of those investigations stemmed from a previous domestic violence allegation involving the same woman in Brevard County in 2016.
Keating wasn't arrested because the woman stopped cooperating with the investigation, Gibson said, but the Sheriff's Office did find Keating had violated policy in an administrative investigation.
This is the second Osceola County Sheriff's deputy to be arrested on domestic violence charges in the last month.
In mid-July, Richard Ortiz, 34, was arrested for allegedly slamming his wife's head against a wall, according to his arrest report.
Cox Media Group